Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bibliography/Book Review; Baum, L. Frank, The Wizard of Oz

Bibliography/Book Review;
Baum, L. Frank, The Wizard of Oz.

This is probably the first book about spirituality that I ever read, although at the time that I read it as a child, I was not fully aware of its spiritual profundity. That insight only came much later, as an adult. It is interesting to note that Baum became a Theosophist and sent two of his children to an Ethical Culture Society school. The Ethical Culture Society is quite interesting, and was founded by Felix Adler, the son of a prominent New York City rabbi, as an attempt to modernize and universalize religion and spirituality (Albert Einstein was a supporter). Below are observations I have previously written about this book and its message:

There has been a popularization and emphasis in recent years among some spiritual teachers of the concept that realization is achieved by expanding the present moment, the Now. They urge us to let go of neurotically dwelling on the past and anxiously anticipating the future, to the detriment of hardly being aware of the present, which is all that really ever exists. Expanding a sense of the present, of the Now, will provide a refreshing and invigorating perspective. Such a realization does not require a long and arduous search and effort or assistance from others. We all have the self-contained ability to arrive upon this realization right now.

This is really not a new message, as it has existed in various forms in spiritual teachings for a long time. It is no better portrayed than in the modern American tale of The Wizard of Oz. A traumatic event spurs Dorothy to embark upon a search to find her home, which she thinks she has lost. During her search, her consciousness is greatly expanded and opened to realms beyond her wildest imagination. It takes an encounter with a humbug wizard to lead her to the final realization that the ability to find home was always in her possession all along. It didn’t require a great search and lengthy effort to arrive upon an elusive goal attainable only in the vague and uncertain future of sometime later. It was available right now! The humbug also assists her traveling companions in coming to the realization that they all already possessed the qualities they were searching for elsewhere, so maybe he wasn’t such a humbug after all! This is a portrayal of what one teacher has coined “The Paradox of Instruction” – all that a spiritual teacher can really do is take something out of a student’s back pocket, buff it up, and give it back as a gift. The honest spiritual teachers admit to this sleight of hand; the less than honest ones lead the students to think the gift has come from somewhere else, and that they are indebted to the teacher for what has been bestowed upon them from out of their own pockets! But perhaps Dorothy’s and her companions’ searches and adventures leading to their revelations were somehow beneficial, and maybe even necessary. Perhaps without those preliminaries, they wouldn’t have been able to realize the value of the gifts bestowed upon them by the wizard.

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Quote of the Week 381 - Heaven

Heaven is all round,

Translated to sound.

--Michael Hedges



Announcing Publication of New Book, DIMENSIONS: Navigation the Spiritual Spectrum

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book, DIMENSIONS: Navigating the Spiritual Spectrum, now available at Amazon, in paperback print and Kindle versions. It is easily found by searching my name, or by searching the full title and subtitle. You can also click on the image of the book in the right hand column of this blog.

What a great way to start the New Year, cozying up to a fire, real or imagined, and reading a new spiritually inspiring book, sure to become a classic!

DIMENSIONS: Navigating the Spiritual Spectrum

Grounded in the traditions of Torah and Veda, Steven J. Gold takes us on an oceanic tour of the depth and breadth of spiritual consciousness. Sharing personal stories and insights into various traditional scriptures as examples, he urges us to adopt a spiritual worldview, to “ponder infinity, awake and arise,” to “find your inspiration and follow it.”

“The chapters…are records of what happens when Steve’s right mind, and heart, are given full freedom to wander where they wish. As discoveries and correlations are made, his well-trained left mind and sharp wit give his observations shape and form…” – Brother Shankara, Resident Minister, Vedanta Center of Atlanta

“Universal Ice Cream: Dive deep into Steve’s wonderful book to help find your favorite flavor on the Spiritual Spectrum.” – Rabbi Mitch Cohen, Spiritual Leader, Congregation Shalom B’Harim, Dahlonega, GA

“Steven J. Gold’s Dimensions is an exploration of spirituality from the inside out. If you are looking for a guide through the pathless land of truth, read this book.” – Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of The World Wisdom Bible

Interfaith/Inter-Spiritual Contemplative Groups

Please check out the following, which is an ongoing activity that may be of interest: